4 Must-Visit Museums in Salem, Massachusetts

June 27, 2022

If there’s one thing Salem knows, it’s museums. Throughout our city, you can find numerous museums all offering unique, educational, and engaging experiences. From pirates to witches to art and historic architecture, Salem has it all. So if you’re interested in “museum-hopping,” here’s our picks for must-stop locations.

1. Real Pirates Salem


Address: 285 Derby Street #5 Charlotte

Okay. We might have a slight bias here, but we’re truly proud of this incredible pirate museum. Museum visitors can experience the true swashbuckling stories of Black Sam Bellamy, pirate captain of the Whydah Gally. The Real Pirates Salem exhibition brings Bellamy’s high-seas tales to life, creating an engaging, interactive, and most of all, fun, experience for all ages.

Here, you’ll find the world’s first fully authenticated pirate treasure recovered from the Whydah Gally shipwreck off the coast of Cape Cod. The museum also contains a partial replica of the pirate ship itself. Additionally, guests are invited to learn more about the Whydah Gally’s recovery and the science behind archeological excavation. Visitors are also encouraged to visit our gift shop where they discover their own treasures to bring home.

2. Salem Witch Museum 


This famous museum is located in a gothic styled, New England church type building and is popular with the public and tourists.

Address: 19 1/2 N Washington Square

The Salem Witch Museum gives Salem visitors the opportunity to get up close with witch history in Salem – more specifically the Witch Trials of 1692. Inside the museum, guests can find two separate presentations. One of which focuses on the Witch Trials itself, putting viewers right in the middle of this troubling time in American history. The other presentation focuses on witchcraft throughout history, exploring its European origins and modern perceptions. 

3. Peabody Essex Museum

Address: 161 Essex Street

The Peabody Essex Museum has roots dating back to the late 1700s. Over the course of centuries, the museum has gathered a vast collection of historical artifacts, objects, buildings, and artwork. Most of these items can be seen on view at the museum on an ongoing basis. The museum also features various rotating exhibitions by contemporary artists. PEM also hosts various events throughout the year.

4. Salem Maritime National Historic Site

The Salem Maritime National Historic Site is known as the first national historic site in the United States. The site features a collection of historic homes and museums to visit. Once inside, you’ll gain a greater understanding of North Shore and American maritime history. Places to visit include the Salem Armory Visitor Center, Custom House, Derby House, Pedrick StoreHouse, the Public Stores warehouse, and much more. You can even enjoy a leisurely stroll on Derby Wharf to take in the incredible sights and sounds.